MA Chinese Studies


Read more about this programme on the institution's website

Programme Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

The MA Chinese Studies provides an exceptional opportunity to take advantage of the wide range of disciplinary approaches to the study of Chinese societies available at SOAS. The main emphasis is on modern and contemporary China, although it is also possible to study aspects of pre-Modern China. In addition to the courses on offer, students develop their own particular area of specialisation by writing a dissertation in their major discipline.

When applying, applicants are asked to specify their preferred major subject, and asked to give an alternative as practical considerations such as timetabling and availability of courses may limit freedom of choice. Once enrolled, students have two weeks to finalise their choice of subjects and have the opportunity of sampling a variety of subjects through attending lectures etc.

Who is this programme for?

Students who take this degree come from many countries and have a wide variety of academic backgrounds. While some wish to broaden their previous studies or experience of China, others approach the course without having a Chinese element to their first degree, but with a desire to focus their previous training on the region.


A postgraduate degree in China and Inner Asia studies from SOAS equips students with essential skills such as competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law.

Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem-solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • Africa-Asia Confidential
  • Asia Society
  • BBC
  • China Central Academy of Fine Arts
  • Citibank
  • CSR Asia
  • CTBI China Desk
  • Deloitte UKEMP
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK
  • French Embassy in China
  • Fu Xin Contemporary Art Gallery
  • Government Offices of Sweden
  • Inter Committee of the Red Cross ICRC
  • Linklaters LLP
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Overseas Development Institute
  • Shelter UK
  • The Amity Foundation Hong Kong

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Editor
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Global Learning Programme Associate
  • News Editor
  • Researcher
  • China Industry Specialist
  • Lecturer
  • Artistic Director
  • Foreign English Expert
  • Diplomat Policy Officer Environment/Climate Change
  • English Teacher
  • Translator
  • Internal Auditor
  • Consultant/Account Manager
  • Expert on Media-Chinese language
  • Interpreter
  • Lecturer in Modern Chinese Culture and Language
  • Professional Speaker & Director
  • Assistant Professor


Students take 180 credits. 60 credits are allocated to a dissertation, 15 credits are allocated to the core module(s) and the remaining 105 credits are from taught modules. A maximum of 60 credits can be taken from one discipline and a minimum of three disciplines must be covered. For students opting to take two language acquisition modules, only one of these can be from an introductory level.

When applying, applicants are asked to specify their preferred major and minor subjects, and asked to give alternative choices as practical considerations such as timetabling and availability of modules may limit freedom of choice.

All modules are subject to availability.

Compulsory Dissertation

  • Dissertation in Chinese Studies

Core Modules

  • Connections and Intersections: Core Aspects of East Asian Studies1

Taught Component Options

Students choose modules to the value of 105 credits from the options below.

  • China and Inner Asia
    • Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora (PG)
    • Traditional Chinese Language and Literature
    • Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation
    • Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (PG)
    • Reading Seminar: Masterpieces of Modern Chinese Literature
    • Reading Seminar: Modern Chinese Literature and the World
    • Contemporary Chinese Literature
    • Modern Chinese Literature
    • Fieldwork methods in language and culture (PG)
    • Available as a minor only
      Modern Documentary Texts
  • Taiwan Studies
    • Culture and Society of Taiwan
  • Language (minor only)
    • Chinese 1 A (PG)
    • Chinese 1 B (PG)
    • Chinese 2 (PG)
    • Chinese 3 (PG)
    • Chinese 4 (PG)
    • Chinese 5: Intermediate Business Chinese (PG)
    • Chinese 6: Advanced Business Chinese (PG)
    • Elementary spoken Hokkien (Minnanyu, Taiwanese) (PG)
    • Practical Translation: Chinese to English
    • Practical Translation: English to Chinese
    • Styles of Modern Chinese Literary Language
    • Tibetan (Classical) 1 A
    • Tibetan (Classical) 1 B
    • Tibetan (Modern) 1 A (PG)
    • Tibetan (Modern) 1 B (PG)
    • Intermediate Modern Chinese Language: Reading
    • Intermediate Modern Chinese Language: Grammar and Writing
    • Intermediate Modern Chinese Language: Translation 15PCHH023
    • Intermediate Modern Chinese Language: Listening and Speaking
    • Advanced Modern Chinese Language: Listening and Speaking
    • Advanced Modern Chinese Language: Reading and Writing
  • Art and Archaeology
    • Arts of Modern and Contemporary China (since 1800)
    • Visual Arts of Dynastic China (to 1800) (Cohort A)
    • Chinese Porcelain: Trade, Transfer and Reception
    • Available as a minor only
      Ceramics in Chinese Culture: 10th - 18th Centuries
  • Anthropology and Sociology (minor only)
    • Culture and Society of China
  • Media and Film Studies
    • Japanese Transnational Cinema: From Kurosawa to Asia Extreme and Studio Ghibli
    • Japanese Post-War Film Genres and the Avant-Garde
  • Economics
    • China and World Development
    • China's Economic Transformation
  • Politics and International Studies
    • Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations
    • State and society in the Chinese political process
    • China and international politics
    • International politics of East Asia
    • Available as a minor only
      Northeast Asian politics: Japan, Korea and Taiwan
  • Music
    • Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters)
    • Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters)
  • Religion
    • Colonialism and Christian Missions in Africa: Readings from the Archives
    • East Asian Buddhist Thought
    • Chinese Buddhism in the Pre-Modern Period
    • The Great Tradition of Taoism
    • Chinese Religious Texts: A Reading Seminar
  • History
    • Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China
    • Asian Wars: World War II and the End of Empire (1942-1960)
    • Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent).

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Nov 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read Less
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